When Christmas morning dawns just a week from today, there will be 4,000 extra big smiles in central Indiana. Yesterday marked the cumulation of The Salvation Army’s first annual Angel Tree program. The Salvation Army sought out families living below the poverty line that could use some extra help to ensure that their children would have something special waiting for them under the Christmas tree. Thanks to the generosity of individual and corporate donors in metro Indy, we were able to answer the prayers of over 1,600 families.

Lt. Megan Lewis talks with a happy mom at the Angel Tree distribution

Lt. Megan Lewis talks with a happy mom at the Angel Tree distribution

On December 17, parents and guardians gathered at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to pick up Angel Tree bags filled special requests for their children, including items like age-appropriate toys, clothing, games, diapers, bedding, shoes, sports equipment and more. Each child, or “Angel,” was sponsored by an individual or business, giving donors a chance to shop from a wish list specific to a child in need. The joy a donor experiences while shopping for an Angel spreads, first to the parents when they are presented with the generous gifts, and then to the children on Christmas morning.

Thank you to Debby Knox, Marianne Lyles and all our friends at CBS4 for helping to tell the Angel Tree story and get the word out to those who were looking for a great way to give back this holiday season. CBS4 was instrumental in the Angel Tree toy and clothing drive before the November 8 Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. These items helped to fill the bags of “Forgotten Angels” who were not adopted by the December 13 deadline.

Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who made Angel Tree possible!

Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who made Angel Tree possible!

Moving and storing over 4,000 bags of toys is a task worthy of Santa’s Toy Shop, but Two Men and a Truck were up for the job. Thank you to all the movers and staff from the central Indiana locations for providing your invaluable help and for providing the many “sleighs” needed to get the job done.

Of course, there would be no Angel Tree program if it weren’t for the generosity of the big-hearted Hoosiers right here in central Indiana. You volunteered to adopt Angels and chose to give the gift of joy to a child who was not on your Christmas list. Thank you for the love you have shown our community. May you be blessed this Christmas and throughout the coming year!